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Common Food & Drug Interactions Every Caregiver Should Know

By Greg Bridges, RN, MA, 11:39 pm on

Medications can be life-saving for many seniors and should always be taken as directed. It is important to note however, that many prescriptions can cause adverse effects when combined with certain foods and other medications. To ensure the safety of your aging parent or loved one, Oklahoma Home Care Assistance offers some valuable information on common food and drug interactions.

Keep It Simple

Many drug interactions occur when older individuals are taking multiple medications from more than one physician. To prevent this from occurring, seniors should take a detailed list of all of the supplements, prescriptions and over-the-counter medications with them to every doctor appointment. Sticking with one pharmacy can help avoid interactions, and the pharmacist should also be made aware of any additional non-prescription pills that are being taken.

Herbal Preparations

Many people mistakenly categorize the safety of herbal teas and supplements on the same level as food. Many times, herbal remedies can interact with medications and render them ineffective or cause adverse reactions. Some supplements to avoid include:

  • Black Cohosh can cause liver toxicity when combined with medications.
  • CoQ10 decreases warfarin’s blood thinning effect.
  • Evening Primrose Oil can decrease the effectiveness of anti-seizure drugs.
  • Valerian can increase drowsiness in people who are taking sedatives and sleeping pills.
  • St. John’s Wort should not be taken with warfarin, HIV medications, SSRIs, MAO inhibitors, dextromethorphan and triptans.
  • Saw Palmetto interferes with estrogen and warfarin.
  • Ginseng should not be taken with blood thinners or diabetic medications.

Cranberries

Patients who are taking warfarin to thin their blood should avoid cranberries because they can cause excessive bleeding. Signs of an increased anticoagulant effect include bruising and bleeding that is difficult to control.

Green Tea

Green tea has gained popularity because of its health benefits as a powerful antioxidant and stomach remedy. The leaves contain a large amount of vitamin K, a natural clotting agent, and consuming excessive amounts of the tea can interfere with blood thinning medications.

Grapefruit Juice

Grapefruit juice also interferes with a lot of medications taken by seniors. The number of specific drugs that are affected by the drink is large, and following is a list of preparations that may interact with grapefruit juice:

  • Cholesterol-lowering drugs
  • Psychiatric medications
  • Blood pressure pills
  • Immunosuppressants
  • Methadone
  • HIV drugs
  • Antiarrythmics

To ensure the safety of your aging parent or loved one, go over his or her medications with their doctor or primary care physician and take the time to sit down with your loved one and review which foods should be avoided. If you are concerned about your loved one’s ability to effectively manage their medications and are not able to assist them on an around the clock basis, learn more about hourly and live-in care in Oklahoma. With a professional and highly trained caregiver by your loved one’s side, you can rest assured that they will have regular medication reminders, as well as assistance with daily tasks.

For more information, reach out to a friendly Care Manager at Home Care Assistance of Oklahoma today at 405-285-1491 and schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation.